FEARS are growing that the dreaded coronavirus may have spread among community leaders within the Nigerian UK diaspora after two people who attended the 80th birthday celebrations of the high commissioner Justice George Oguntade recently died from the virus.
On March 10, Justice Oguntade, the Nigerian high commissioner to the UK celebrated his birthday at a lavish gala dinner which took place at the Hilton Hotel on Park Lane in central London. It was attended by prominent dignitaries including guests from Nigeria like Ebenezer Obey, Dele Momodu, Governor Dapo Abiodun, Senator Lanre Tejuosho, John Momoh, Nike Oshinowo, Erelu Fernandez, Segun Okeowo, Razaq and Folasade Okoya and Ambassador Nwachukwu.
Also in attendance were most of the UK community leaders such as the Mayor of Enfield Councillor Kate Anolue, the chairman of the Central association of Nigerians in the UK Dr Boma Douglas and his wife June and the former chairman of the Nigerian Council of Elders Chief Adebayo Oladimeji and his wife. Entertainment was provided by Nigeria’s cultural icon in the UK Ayan de First and there are now fears that they may all have been affected.
Guest Rotimi Adigun and one other person who attended the party are reported to have died from coronavirus-related illnesses since. One other person who has tested positive for the virus is said to be in a serious condition in hospital and has been placed on a ventilator.
It is not yet clear whether all those who attended the party will be given immediate testing placed in quarantine. Under UK health guidelines, anyone suspected to have come in contact with the virus is advised to self-isolate for 14 days, given the virus enough time to die.
So far, nobody who was at the party has publicly declared that they are suffering from any of the symptoms of the virus. However, it is expected that they will now all self isolate to prevent the virus from spreading.